“If we created iFoster and brought the benefits of community, we could help hundreds of thousands of children and hundreds of thousands of families.”
“Witness protection for kids” is how Reid Cox describes the child welfare system. It protects the privacy and safety of youths, who often have been removed from their homes due to abuse, neglect or violence. But this also makes it harder for their foster families to find the support they need. That’s where iFoster — the online community Cox and his wife, Serita, cofounded — comes in.
Cox, who grew up in a small farming town in Canada, is a former tech industry financial strategist. In 2010, he and Serita, a former management and philanthropic strategy consultant who was a foster child herself, were looking for a way to make a difference. They thought about becoming foster parents but realized they could combine their professional expertise and have a larger impact. They created iFoster, a website that helps those involved in the child welfare system — kids, their foster hosts, agencies and businesses — build a community of support for one another. From providing help with homework and college applications to giving kids laptops and cellphones, iFoster works to fill the gaps in these families’ resources.
“If we created iFoster and brought the benefits of community, we could help hundreds of thousands of children and hundreds of thousands of families,” Cox says.
At any given moment, there are more than 400,000 children being raised in foster care. “What we do for the community is ask them, what do they need? What are the barriers they run across?” Cox says.